Renamed Food – I’ll have the Slimehead with Power Peas, please

(Last Updated On: May 4, 2021)

renamed food - food in basketScience Fact:

Renamed food – the restaurant owner’s secret, coming to a school near you.

How about a burger? Or would you rather have two 100% pure beef patties, hand-leafed lettuce, tomato, spread with or without onions, stacked high on a freshly baked bun? (at In-N-Out)

Both of them may qualify as healthy food. However, our emotions steer us to food that is more lovingly described.

The same tricks that make your mouth water before the order even reaches the kitchen also work in elementary schools. In New York City, when Cornell University researchers renamed the lunchroom foods, the kids ate twice the quantity of “X-Ray Vision Carrots,” “Power Punch Broccoli,” “Tiny Tasty Tree Tops” and “Silly Dilly Green Beans” compared with “ordinary” foods.

We’ve been eating renamed food for a long time — you’ll get a funny look at the meat counter if you ask for cow or pig meat — and foods are renamed for many reasons. There weren’t too many orders for Patagonian Toothfish until someone renamed it Chilean Sea Bass. And Slimehead turned into Orange Roughy, which sounds like a hooligan with a bad spray-tan, but is still an improvement.

Renamed Food That’s Already In Your Market

A Puzzle: How many of these food names can you translate into the terms we use today?
– Chinese gooseberries
– Dolphinfish
– Lumpsucker Roe
– Thymus Gland
– Rapeseed Oil
– Whore’s Eggs
– Goosefish
– Mud bugs

But new names are not just for show — studies show that we think that healthy food tastes better and enjoy it more when it’s succulently described.

Science Speculation: Renamed Food in Schools

The names parents use for their kids’ food are even more fun. How about
– Dinosaur Broccoli Trees
– Greek Lasagna (moussaka)
– Chinese Spaghetti (chow mein)
– Chinese Omelette (egg foo yung)
– Cheeseburger Pizza (meatloaf)
and of course…
– Power Peas!

Renamed foods are all around us. Do you have any favorites?

Articles on renamed foods:

4 Foods Renamed So That You Might Actually Eat Them
Cornish tuna renamed Coruna
Culinary Names
Foods you renamed to get the kids to eat
Freedom Fries
Frieda Caplan, How Kiwifruit got its name
Post Toasties
Renaming Fruits And Vegetables With Catchy Names Convinces Kids To Eat Them, Study Says
Sparking your children’s imagination can improve their appetite, claims scientists
Tastes Like Chicken
Tastes Like Chicken?
The Kitchen Thinker: Renaming food

Research Studies:

How descriptive food names bias sensory perceptions in restaurants
Attractive names sustain increased vegetable intake in schools

Answers to the Puzzle Above:

– Kiwi fruit
– Mahi mahi
– Lumpfish caviar
– Sweetbreads
– Canola oil
– Uni (sea urchin)
– Monkfish or anglerfish
– Crayfish


Renamed Food – I’ll have the Slimehead with Power Peas, please — 1 Comment

  1. Quite interesting and I can relate. Have been a fan of Chilean Sea Bass for quite a while. Little did I realize it had another name. Restaurants around here even play it up as seasonal/special and command higher menu prices.
    This is great info!